The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 13, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. and Britain had agreed this date to seek a NATO-type military alliance of ten nations regarding Southeast Asia, in an effort to safeguard peace in that region, from Indo-China to New Zealand. They declared that Communist aggression, as in Indo-China, threatened to spread over all of the region, extending to Australia, the Philippines and Thailand. The agreement expressed its disapproval that on the eve of the Geneva peace conference, the Communist forces in Indo-China were increasingly developing their activities into a "large-scale war against the forces of the French Union" and were seeking to overthrow the "lawful and friendly government of Viet Nam, which we recognize," and had also invaded Laos and Cambodia, endangering the peace and security of the entire region of Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific, where the U.S. and Britain had "vital interests". The announcement was made in a joint British-American communiqué following a two-day conference between Secretary of State Dulles and British leaders regarding a "united action" program, which Secretary Dulles had flown to London to seek. A top-ranking U.S. official said that the Secretary was "very satisfied" with the meeting and felt that the talks had gone far toward establishing the unity of purpose which he had sought on Southeast Asian defense. The Secretary was flying to Paris to enlist French Government participation in such an agreement—ultimately to become SEATO the following September.

From Hanoi was reported by the French high command that Vietminh artillery this date had again blasted the defenders of the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu but that the rebels had still withheld the massive all-out assaults which the French Union forces had expected prior to the weekend. Under the artillery barrage, the Vietminh had sent out squads to gather up hundreds of their comrades killed or wounded in the vain attempts earlier to retake the 1,200-foot eastern hill position, located five-eighths of a mile from the center of the fortress, which the French had seized the previous Saturday and still held this date. Heavy fog under skies threatening the spring monsoon had cut the French aerial assaults down against the jungle hills surrounding the fortress, but the U.S.-supplied fighters and bombers ranged far to the northeast and north of Hanoi, blasting major sections of the main highways over which Communist China was sending thousands of tons of war matériel for the rebels. The bad weather offered a boon to the Vietminh, who could send in human waves of foot soldiers while the French tanks and other mechanized equipment would bog down in the mud. Every brief break in the weather was used to drop French troop reinforcements and supplies by parachute to the fortress. The four regular Vietminh divisions surrounding the fortress had been receiving reinforcements during the previous two weeks from thousands of guerrilla fighters and regional troops, in preparation for another major assault to overrun the French, probably to occur prior to the April 26 start of the Geneva peace conference, set to take up the finalization of the peace in Korea and to try to effect a peace in the Indo-China war.

In Washington, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, sometimes called the father of the atomic bomb for his work on the Manhattan Project during the war, had been suspended as a Government adviser on atomic matters for security reasons, including accusations that he sought to block development of the hydrogen bomb. He declared that he would fight the accusations. He disclosed the charges himself this date by making public an exchange of letters with Maj. General K. D. Nichols, general manager of the AEC, which made no immediate comment on the story which had been published by New York morning newspapers. The letter, issued the prior December, provided by Dr. Oppenheimer said that 16 specific allegations of subversive activities had been leveled against him, one being that he battled against construction of the hydrogen bomb, even after its approval by former President Truman in early 1950. It said that he was instrumental in persuading other scientists not to work on the hydrogen bomb project and that his opposition had slowed its development, and so indicated that the Commission had no other recourse than to suspend his security clearance to have atomic information until the matter had been resolved. Dr. Oppenheimer had replied in a 43-page letter on March 4, taking up each of the allegations raised in the AEC letter, including a statement that he had argued against the development of the hydrogen bomb in 1949, and was joined by the entire general advisory committee on atomic matters, comprised of top-level scientists, arguing against its rapid build-up.

In the seventh in a series of retrospective articles on the career of Senator McCarthy, Associated Press reporter Relman Morin tells of how witnesses felt when being examined by the Senator and the Investigations subcommittee chief counsel Roy Cohn, some describing it as an ordeal which was thoroughly terrifying, smacking of the star chamber and inquisitions of old, resemblant to the process of which one heard occurring in the Iron Curtain countries. A former State Department official had said that he had choked up for several minutes and could not speak. A newspaper editor recounted a statement by the Senator, saying that the latter's words had registered slowly and that he must have looked baffled as well as astonished, almost incapable of trusting his own senses at what he was hearing. The stated purpose of the subcommittee was to investigate "the operations of all government departments at all levels", but people had emerged consistently from the hearings saying the Senator was playing the role of a prosecutor, not an investigator, taking the position that a witness was guilty of something, placing the burden of proving innocence on the witness, and violating the boundary between investigation and persecution. The Chicago Tribune, which generally had supported the Senator, had commented editorially on the uproar generated by the Senator's questioning of Brig. General Ralph Zwicker, regarding the promotion and then honorable discharge of an Army Reserve dentist who had pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked about prior membership in subversive organizations, that the Senator would serve his cause better if he learned to "distinguish the role of investigator from the role of avenging angel."

This night, not reported on the front page, on the CBS "See It Now" program, host Edward R. Murrow would provide a response to Senator McCarthy's half-hour response of the prior Tuesday on the same program, which had attacked Mr. Murrow as a Communist sympathizer, intended as responsive to the "See It Now" program of March 9 in which the Senator's rise to power had been examined primarily through his own words, with some editorial comment at the end, all read by Mr. Murrow from a script prepared by "See It Now" producer Fred W. Friendly—about whom the Senator said nothing. Mr. Murrow denied or explained each of the charges made against him by the Senator, ranging back to 1935 regarding Mr. Murrow's participation, along with several of the most distinguished educators and citizens of the country, in the organization of a summer student exchange program with Russia and several other countries, the Russian program eventually canceled by the Soviets.

The President named this date Norman Mason as acting head of the Federal Housing Administration, as a variety of Government agencies were probing a possible multi-million dollar scandal going back to the Truman Administration. Guy Hollyday had resigned the previous day as FHA commissioner, shortly before disclosure by Housing administrator Albert Cole of allegations of irregularities centering on fleecing of homeowners on loans for modernization and repair, and over appraisal of apartment projects for mortgage insurance. Mr. Cole described Mr. Hollyday, appointed by the President a year earlier, as "a good Christian gentleman" but said that he might be held partly responsible for the abuses under the repair program because he had been aware of it and did not act.

In Canberra, Australia, Prime Minister Robert Menzies announced this date that the Soviet Embassy's third secretary had fled the Russians and disclosed the presence of a widespread Soviet spy network in Australia. The Prime Minister said that a royal commission had been appointed to investigate the information supplied by the diplomat, who had applied for political asylum in Australia and been turned over to the nation's security forces for further questioning. The diplomat had turned over to the security forces a large number of documents and oral information listing Australian contacts or cooperators, some of whom were operating under code names.

In Boise, Ida., Harry Orchard, 88, died in the State Penitentiary, where he had served since 1905, after confessing to planting a bomb which had killed former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg, Mr. Orchard implicating officers of the militant Western Federation of Miners as being behind the bombing. It had resulted in one of the great courtroom dramas of the early part of the century, involving Clarence Darrow for the defense and resulting in the acquittal on murder charges of "Big Bill" Haywood and an associate, with a third Federation official having a similar charge dropped.

In Greensboro, N.C., the secretary of the Guilford County Welfare Department had been wounded and a man had shot himself to death in what police described as an attempted homicide and suicide on a Greensboro street. The woman's condition was not serious but she was suffering from severe shock. The woman's mother said that she had been having trouble with the man, employed at a service station, for some time.

Emery Wister of The News tells of Paul Buck, who would manage the new Coliseum-Auditorium Authority, both buildings presently under construction on Independence Boulevard. Mr. Buck was in favor of setting up advance bookings for both venues, starting with the major events, such as ice shows, trade shows, auto shows, and conventions, and then proceeding to the smaller ones. He believed sporting events would come to the Coliseum, perhaps even a hockey exhibition. Mr. Buck was assistant manager of the St. Louis Arena, and had come to Charlotte the previous day, to remain through the following day, and would issue a report on the complex in September to the city. He believed that the Coliseum ought be in use four or five days per week, and that there would be some nights when the Auditorium would be in use at the same time. Both buildings were set to be completed in May or June of the following year, and Mr. Buck believed that they would be ready to receive their first paying attractions in June or July. What about car racin'? You get the car racin' in 'ere?

Betty Boyer, in her weekly "Grocery News" column to appear the following day, will tell of a "sweetheart" of a soap sale, and so be sure to peg that on your bulletin board for a definite look-see.

On the editorial page, "N.C. Passes Up Polio Vaccine" indicates deep disappointment that State health officials had ruled out the use of the new Salk polio vaccine for the year, as it held out the first real promise for ending infantile paralysis. It had been repeatedly tested in the laboratory and on select groups of individuals and was set to receive a large-scale test in the field in select settings during 1954.

It had been tentatively agreed that it would be tested in seven North Carolina counties which had a high polio incidence over a period of years, but the State health officer had notified the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis that the state would not participate. The basis for the decision was that North Carolina supposedly had an upsurge of polio which began earlier than in other states, in April and May, reaching its peak in July, and that it required five weeks to provide the three inoculations of the vaccine, thus making its use more beneficial in states with a later seasonal peak.

It indicates that while lay judgment was not competent to question professional judgment of State health officials, a lay person could determine that inoculations started as late as May would provide immunity by early June, before the peak months. It suggests that if the seven counties which were to be tested had an outbreak during the summer and the vaccine proved effective elsewhere, the doctors who had made the decision would have to answer to their own consciences. It also expresses distress regarding the fact that the vaccine, one of the most significant events in the history of medicine, would not be tested in North Carolina, a leader in so many other endeavors.

"From Cobalt Bombs, a Scorched Earth" indicates that the "scorched earth" policy long used by military commanders had previously been no more than a figure of speech referring to the elimination of means for an enemy to support itself off the land, but now had taken on new meaning from the development of the hydrogen bomb encased in cobalt instead of steel, which could render the atmosphere, itself, radioactive. Professor Leo Szilard of the University of Chicago, one of the original architects of the atomic bomb, estimated that 400 one-ton deuterium-cobalt bombs would create enough radioactivity in the atmosphere to extinguish all life on earth. Knowledge of the cobalt bomb was not new, as Albert Einstein had spoken of it in early 1950 as being within the realm of possibility.

Thus, in theory, an enemy could set off a cobalt bomb in the Pacific and prevailing easterly winds would carry the resulting radioactive dust cloud across the U.S., destroying most life in its path. But that cloud would, sooner or later, pass over the territory of the nation detonating such a bomb, and so had a built-in control. Unless a self-destructive madman would set off such a bomb, it would never be tested or built. But the fact that it was technically feasible was another reason for the major powers to reach agreement on a realistic and adequate system of international control of nuclear warfare.

"Planning Board Needs Better Understood" indicates that Mayor Philip Van Every of Charlotte had endorsed a reasonable budget for the Planning Board, indicative of the growing understanding around City Hall of the difficulties the Board faced. It finds that the Mayor's statement in the previous day's newspaper had made a point often forgotten, that the city had received more than its money's worth when the late J. B. Marshall, a former city manager, had been the consultant to the Planning Board, as Mr. Marshall had been a qualified engineer dedicated to serving the city, receiving only a modest consulting fee for the work. Such assistance, however, was not the standard, and the Board now faced problems more complicated even than when Mr. Marshall had been advising.

It concludes that money would need be appropriated for the Board if the Council wanted it to be effective.

"Brownell Report Served Useful Purpose" indicates that Attorney General Herbert Brownell's report to the nation the previous Friday night regarding the fight against Communist subversion and espionage had helped to bring into clearer focus that which had been distorted by the "headline hunters" in Congress. He had reminded of the excellent work done by the FBI in infiltrating the Communist Party such that they no longer knew who to trust among their members, and had stressed the importance of the executive branch's security program and the need for tightening the loopholes which had permitted Communists to escape detection and prosecution.

It indicates that not everyone would agree with the Attorney General that the executive branch security program was flawless or with every one of his recommendations for new legislation, but there would be no disagreement among thoughtful people with his basic premises, that keeping close tabs on Communist activities was a job for trained experts, that it was the responsibility of the executive branch to enforce fair and workable loyalty standards for Government employees, and that new laws should be adopted when it was shown that they were clearly needed.

It concludes that the Congressional investigative committees had a role, but that the main reliance should be placed on executive agencies and processes of justice, which had served the nation well throughout its history.

Drew Pearson indicates that Republicans were not happy over a deal between the Teamsters union locals in Detroit and Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield to call off an investigation of labor racketeering in the Detroit area, in return for which, the Teamsters in Detroit would support Republican Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan for re-election. The deal was behind the speech made on the floor of the House the previous week by Congressman Clare Hoffman of Michigan, who had said that his subcommittee on labor racketeering and welfare funds had barely begun its investigations when, apparently for political reasons, it was liquidated. The same deal was behind a statement made by Congressman Wint Smith of Kansas, after a brief hearing the previous November, that the investigation of Detroit labor racketeering was being called off because of "pressure". Mr. Smith had told newsmen that the pressure was from so high up that he could not discuss it. A member of the committee staff said that it had come from Republican House Majority Leader Charles Halleck of Indiana, who, in turn, was acting in response to the deal made by Mr. Summerfield regarding Senator Ferguson.

Detroit Teamsters head Jimmy Hoffa and his right-hand man, Bert Brennon, had gotten in touch with Mr. Summerfield, the former Republican national committeeman for Michigan, who had run the Republican Party in that state, after it became known that the Government Operations Committee had voted to sidetrack its chairman, Mr. Hoffman, who had wanted to investigate alleged pressure on jukebox employers and automatic car-wash employers to make union payoffs to Teamsters locals, a prospective investigation which had brought protests from Mr. Hoffa. At that point, Mr. Hoffman got the House Labor Committee, of which he was also a member, to probe the Detroit Teamsters, and a three-man subcommittee, including Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Smith, was appointed to continue the probe, using information gathered by the staff of the Government Operations Committee. After Mr. Hoffa, however, had contacted Mr. Summerfield, the probe was suddenly canceled and the Detroit Teamsters, usually backing Democrats, leaked word that they would support Senator Ferguson.

Meanwhile, a county grand jury, prompted by the initial investigations by Mr. Hoffman, had indicted 12 leading Detroit Teamsters, including William Bufalino, head of the jukebox local, Michael Nicoletti, head of local 247 in Detroit, and David Keating, head of local 614 in Pontiac. Dave Beck, national head of the Teamsters, had suspended all of the 12 except for Mr. Bufalino, and had named Mr. Hoffa as trustee for the locals involved.

In addition, a subcommittee of the Government Operations Committee had been probing labor practices in Minneapolis and other areas, but had been careful since the previous November to avoid the Detroit investigation.

With our special 20-20 foresight, we have a suggestion to the Administration, that they perhaps hire Mr. Hoffa as a representative to put forth the case on SEATO in Australia, and send him down there for the purpose. He could also paint some houses, maybe, while down there, or someone could paint his house for him while he is gone. What d' yous think?

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of a conversation had between one of them and a middle-ranking Government official recently, in which the official begged off an invitation for lunch, the eventual reason being stated as "one-six-two", a reference to the fact that the Alsops had revealed in their column that the National Security Council had, at a meeting the previous October, set forth Administration policy in policy paper NSC-162, in response to the intelligence that the Soviets had detonated their first hydrogen bomb.

While there had been nothing secret about the fact of the Soviets having detonated the bomb or that it posed an imminent, significant danger to the country, requiring a new policy response, Robert Cutler, the secretary to the NSC, had been reported as quite upset, along with other members of the Council, about the fact that the Alsops had indicated the number of the policy paper. When they asked one official what information the designation would disclose to a potential enemy, he hesitated, then said that a Russian spy who obtained the NSC files would know for which paper to look first.

But, in fact, the number of the paper could not have caused so much uproar, and the truth appeared instead to be that anything to do with the NSC was supposed to be highly secret, and many officials loved secrets just for the sake of secrecy.

But that meant that the U.S. Government was "nobody's damn business", as the NSC was part of the Government, and in a free society, where the people are the actual masters of the government, to maintain the people in ignorance invited disaster. The idea that the people might become "hysterical" if they knew the truth, thus confining to "responsible officials" the facts, as some contended, invited such disaster. They question whether it really should be a secret that the leaders of the country, after long study of the facts, had concluded that the danger to national survival was so grave that national security had to have absolute priority, the essence of NSC-162.

Marquis Childs, in Rome, indicates that U.S. Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce had consistently been the target, during her year as Ambassador, of the Communist apparatus in Italy, with unrelenting attacks taking place in newspapers and wall posters, distorting and maligning everything she had said or done. Palmiro Togliatti, the Moscow-trained boss of the Italian Communist Party, had said, for instance, on the floor of the Parliament that Ms. Luce had the "evil eye", putting a curse on everything she came near.

While the Communists, themselves, might be ignored, the undercover opposition of the industrialists was something else, as it was a part of the tenuous political balance on which the Government of Prime Minister Marion Scelba was poised. Ambassador Luce had told the Government and the industrialists that she could not approve of placing contracts in plants where unions had a Communist majority, that those contracts needed to be placed in factories dominated by non-Communist unions. In some categories of work, that was difficult or impossible, but Ms. Luce indicated that she could never defend before a Congressional committee the awarding of a contract for military work in which Communist shop stewards had so much authority, with access to all information. The industrialists had replied that Communist workers for the most part were not real Communists and that the effort to exclude large plants with Communist unions would create more unemployment, in which real Communism could thrive.

Ambassador Luce was also trying to persuade the Government to enforce another provision of the Offshore Aid Act, which provided that the benefits of U.S. spending be shared as widely as possible through every part of the economy. As a result of lack of specificity of how the spending of nearly 3.5 billion dollars in aid would take place, the rich had gotten richer and the poor had obtained little, if any, benefit. The result had provided fertile ground on which Communists could work.

Mr. Childs indicates that Ambassador Luce had privately stated some of those concerns when she had visited the U.S. in January, seeking to alert people back home to the dangers in Italy posed by Communism, with some of her critics taking exception that such was not her function as an Ambassador. But it had brought awareness of the situation in Italy, whereas the conflicts in France, which had now surfaced, apparently had never been brought to the attention of Washington.

A letter writer from Wake Forest, N.C., indicates that when he was preparing for graduation from Central High School in Charlotte in 1950, he was not sure what vocation he would pursue and had not planned to enter college. But on the last day of classes before graduation, one of his teachers had mentioned Charlotte College and the fact that a scholarship was being offered which not many people were seeking, and so he applied and won the scholarship. During the ensuing two years, he had worked at an insurance agency by day and attended classes in the afternoon and evening, living at home in the process, enabling him to pay for his two years of college, with the aid of the scholarship. While at Charlotte College for two years, he had come to the realization that an education was worth working for and decided to continue his college education to study medicine, completing his undergraduate work at Wake Forest, where he was majoring in French and general science, had done quite well in his studies and would graduate in June, set to enter the Duke University School of Medicine the following fall. He praises, therefore, Charlotte College, and urges others to take advantage of its offered opportunities.

A letter writer from Davidson answers another letter appearing April 7, opposing the two-cent tax levy to support Charlotte College and Carver College, on the basis that the burden of providing a college education for the higher economic brackets should not fall on the shoulders of those of lower income. This writer contends that nothing could be further from the truth, that a major purpose of those two community colleges was to provide opportunity for higher education to those otherwise not able to afford it. He urges the voters to approve the tax levy.

A letter writer indicates that the recent resignation of the local draft board because they had received pressure from an unknown source in the Government in Washington to delay induction by 60 days of a local man, pending his graduation from UNC in June, had not been a just act as it provided undue publicity to Senators Clyde Hoey and Alton Lennon and Representative Charles Jonas, as well as to Selective Service director, General Lewis Hershey, and to the young man in question and his father who had made the appeal to the draft board. He says that he had served in the Army with men who had received as many as four deferrals, and yet their names had never been published in any newspaper. The young man in question, who had his name published in the newspaper, had worked hard for his college degree and the fact that he was granted a 60-day extension so that he could obtain it made him a scapegoat for the fact that the local draft board had become agitated over a period of years for being overruled and so had resigned to draw attention to the situation.

A letter writer from Concord, N.C., indicates that the National Shut-In Society intended to provide cheer and comfort to chronic invalids without regard to race, creed or color. Committees supplied wheelchairs to invalid members at a low rental, in addition to hot-water bags, rubber air cushions, stationery and the like. Another committee loaned books to the members. The dues for membership were one dollar per year and members received the monthly publication, "The Open Window". She provides an address to which to write to receive a membership application.

All we know is that every dreary early winter morning, when we were, sluggishly, trying to wake up sufficiently to eat breakfast and prepare for school, we would hear over the radio—an omnipresent fixture at the morning breakfast table, tuned at the behest of our parents to the "adult" station which played the calmer, less clamorous, music, not generally to our liking, albeit occasionally coming up with something which offered pleasant accord with the tympanum's accustomed vibrations, our parents wanting to be up to date on morning news without loud, assaultive accompaniment—, a five-minute program which would drone in the background, with an apparently elderly woman, whose first name we recall to have been Midge or Madge, going on about her "Program for Shut-Ins". She convinced us that we never wanted to become such a person and be stuck at home having to listen to Midge or Madge during the early morning hours. So, we hustled off to school, though sleepily sometimes resistant to the notion at such a cruel hour—not that absence of school is necessarily a characteristic of a shut-in—, and have always sought to maintain our health.

A letter writer from Huntersville, for the fifth and sixth grades, says that she was thrilled to see their picture in the newspaper and thanks it for a very enjoyable visit.

Well, what notorious act did you do to get your pictures in the newspaper? You are not the ones who went out to see Adlai Stevenson at the airport, as those, at least supposedly, were fourth-graders. We want to know what's up. There is something wrong with this picture. Probably Communist infiltration at work.

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